School Guidance Counselor: Julia Mansfield

School Guidance Counselor – Julia Mansfield


Setting: Counseling office


Hi, yes, I know about the CASA program.

I’ve been Maria’s guidance counselor for two years now. I’ll follow her class through graduation. Here is her academic record if you’d like to see it. Her GPA is 2.8 on a 4-point scale. Her grades in high school have been average to good. They were lower in middle school, especially when Maria’s DCP&P case opened.


Sometimes Maria comes to school feeling down about her home life. She has cried about it in this office more than once. Maria feels bad to be so ungrateful, but she just doesn’t feel at home with the Becker’s. Their religion is very different from Catholicism and she believes they are trying to convert her. This is really uncomfortable, and she doesn’t get along with their daughter either.

Maria puts on a happy face and shows her cheerful side to the world, but deep inside she’s pretty upset about a few things. She is really sad that her family broke up the way it did. She lived apart from her sisters for about a year and felt extremely guilty about that. She said she ran away a few times in hopes she’d be able to see them or be placed with them. And she’s worried about her mother.


She’s worried about her dad too, especially because of his drinking. She’s mad at him of course, but she loves him too. The whole situation is painful and difficult.


She is also really concerned about her status in this country. You know she doesn’t want to go back to El Salvador. She says she doesn’t want to go live with her aunt and just help in the house until she finds a husband, if she can find one. I imagine her opportunities will be so limited in El Salvador compared to here. But when she turns 18 and graduates from high school, she will be an undocumented immigrant, a so-called “illegal alien.”


No, I don’t know Lourdes Valdez that well. I see her in the halls, though, and she seems like a nice kid. Maria is very attached to her.


I’ve noticed, or heard, that Maria has had a crush on a couple different guys at school, but nothing serious. I don’t see Maria as being one of those girls who gets pregnant and becomes a teenage mother. But you never know about things like that.


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